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The Daily Beat: 24 April

Parents of children with achondroplasia continue to protest in front of the Prime Minister’s office for the fifth day. Parents and their supporters demand a meeting with the Prime Minister to sort out issues related to achondroplasia drug financing and its prompt import. The prime minister left for Brussels, abstaining from the meeting with the protesting parents, warning them against being exploited by politicians and dragged into a political campaign.

Before departing for Brussels, at the government meeting, prime minister Irakli Garibashvili expressed “solidarity” and “sympathy” with the children suffering from achondroplasia, telling them that “the government, the state is with you” and will “do what is necessary.” He questioned the efficacy of the US-manufactured achondroplasia drug, describing it as dangerous for children’s health. In what looks like an ill-advised PR counter-offensive Irakli Garibashvili pledged to cover the cancer treatment of 300 children fully. Later in the day, the government reported on its social media page that it has covered the costs of children’s diabetes treatment.

Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandre Khvtisiashvili assures that the evacuation of Georgian citizens from Sudan’s battle-stricken capital has already been launched. Georgian citizens stranded in Khartoum are already transferred to a safe location within the city, awaiting further evacuation measures, Khvtisiashvili said. Around 30 Georgians, mostly Airline employees, are stranded in the embattled Sudanese capital – Khartoum.

Over the weekend, the state security service reported the arrest of a Georgian citizen Malkhaz Paksashvili who allegedly was the leader of one of the groups of the Islamic State terrorist organization. According to the security service, the investigation revealed that Paksashvili left Georgia for Syria in 2013 and joined the Islamic State. “The detainee had close contacts with top military leaders of the Islamic State and held a leading position in one of the groups of this terrorist organization,” the security service said in its statement.

The EU and US ambassadors believe that the decision to pardon the arrested opposition TV manager Nika Gvaramia rests solely with the president. The two ambassadors stressed the crucial importance of media freedom and reminded of its significance for Georgia’s EU advance.  “Helsinki Commission has been clear, as have many others, including our Embassy, on concerns about Mr. Gvaramia’s case, including the original charges, the timing of the charges, and the conviction and decision,” – the US ambassador said. Ambassadors talked to the media separately on topics such as judicial reform, the possible pardoning of Nika Gvaramia, and failed attempts to establish the parliamentary inquiry commission.

Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze arrived in Baku. During the visit, he met his Azerbaijani counterpart, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov, discussing defense cooperation, regional security challenges, participation in international exercises, and military training programs. According to the defense ministry, Juansher Burchuladze invited his Azerbaijani colleague to visit Georgia on independence day – May 26th. Ministers also signed an agreement on defense cooperation between the two countries.


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